Archive for January 28th, 2021

Rockford Fire Department news

Excerpts from

Pointing to his accomplishments and leadership, the Illinois Fire Chief’s Association has selected Rockford Fire Chief Derek Bergsten as Fire Chief of the Year. Some of his accomplishments include the replacement of a full fleet of engines within four years and initiating mobile integrated healthcare. But, he says the award is team effort.

It’s been nearly forty years since a Stateline fire chief has won the award and Bergsten says it feels good to recognize the hard work of the department.

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Fatal fire in Des Plaines, 1-27-21 (more)

Some photos around the scene of the Fatal fire in Des Plaines, 1-27-21

aftermath of house fire

Max Weingardt photo

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Evanston Fire Department history – Part 5

Final installment from Phil Stenholm 

Evanston’s first three full-time paid firefighters were hired in June 1888 at an annual salary of $480 per man. Jack Sweeting, who had been one of the part-timers since the previous December, plus newcomers Edward Murray and James Peck. This was preceded by most of the members of the part-time company resigned en masse the previous August in a dispute with Chief Harrison over the issues of financial compensation for firemen, plus poor sanitary and living conditions in the firehouse (paint shop).  This was the second job action by Evanston firefighters. The third was when Murray and Peck, two of the new full-time firemen, refused to spend 2/3 of their day patrolling the Davis Street business district in search of violations of the Fire Limits ordinance. Murray and Peck were summarily fired for insubordination, and were replaced by Andrew Carroll and W. V. Rake.

In 1893, the company moved into the new city hall at the northwest corner of Davis & Sherman, across the alley from the old paint shop, and then to the new Police/Fire Public Safety HQ facility at the northwest corner of Grove & Sherman in 1897.

The company at Station #1, known as Engine Co. 1 beginning in 1895, would continue to grow over the years, so much so that it was split into two companies (Engine Co. 1 and Truck Co. 1) in 1903. George Hargreaves was the first captain of Truck Co. 1, with nine firefighters assigned to each of the two companies by 1904. 

Meanwhile, volunteer fire companies were organized in South Evanston and in North Evanston.

The ten-man South Evanston Fire Company was organized by Christopher Molinelli, after he was appointed Village of South Evanston Fire Marshal on July 16, 1888. The Village of South Evanston was incorporated on January 14, 1873. The South Evanston Fire Company was equipped with a hand-drawn hose-cart built by Edison Salisbury & Company, and purchased by the Village of South Evanston in 1884, plus a hand-drawn hook & ladder wagon, and occupied the south end of the South Evanston Village Hall that was dedicated on September 5, 1888 at the northwest corner of Chicago & Madison.

The Village of South Evanston was annexed by the Village of Evanston in 1892 thus forming the new City of Evanston. The South Evanston Fire Company was disbanded by Evanston Fire Marshal Sam Harrison on June 6th and replaced by two full-time paid fireman operating a horse-drawn hose cart. Carl Harms was the first captain at Station #2, and he spent his entire 26-year career there. Ed Densmore, a member of the South Evanston Fire Company transferred to the Evanston Fire Department after the South Evanston Fire Company was disbanded.

The Evanston Police Department also occupied the former South Evanston Village Hall from 1892 to 1897, utilizing the facility as its South Precinct under the command of former South Evanston Police Chief Henry Mersch, who was given the title of captain in the EPD. The old South Evanston Village Hall, constructed as a combination village hall/firehouse/police station-jail back when South Evanston was its own village, was razed and rebuilt as a more-traditional (and useful) three-bay firehouse on the same site during 1902. It was completed in February 1903. 

The North Evanston Fire Company was organized and accepted for service with the Evanston Fire Department on October 1, 1888, as water-mains were extended into North Evanston. Unlike the Village of South Evanston, North Evanston was part of the Village of Evanston after being annexed by the Village of Evanston section by section over a number of years. It was never a separate incorporated village. The 13-man North Evanston Fire Company was strictly a volunteer/auxiliary unit that was created mainly to provide fire protection for the Central Street business district. They we’re equipped only with a hand-drawn hose cart stored at the C&NW RR Central Street train depot The company could not go very far.

The North Evanston Fire Company was disbanded on January 31, 1901, when Hose Co. 3, a horse-drawn hose cart and three full-time paid firefighters was organized at the brand new Fire Station # 3 at 2504 West Railroad Avenue (later known as Green Bay Road).  None of the members of the North Evanston Fire Company joined the EFD when the company was disbanded as the company consisted mainly of merchants and wealthy squires who would have had no interest in a firefighting career. S. C. “Carl” Harrison, Jr, the son of Chief Sam Harrison, was the first captain assigned to Station # 3. Carl Harrison would later serve as Chief Fire Marshal, from December 14, 1905 until March 9, 1914. 

The full history starts HERE, then Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4

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Alsip Fire Department history

This from Mike Summa for #TBT:

For TBT-Alsip E2053, a 1986 Spartan/Grumman 1500/500/50′ Tele-Squrt
Mike Summa
1986 Spartan Gladiator - Grumman 50' Tele-Squrt

Mike Summa photo

Alsip FD Engine 2053

Another shot taken in 2007. Dennis McGuire, Jr. photo

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